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Reap better SQL Server OLTP performance with next-generation Dell EMC PowerEdge MX servers
Reap better SQL Server
OLTP performance with
next-generation Dell EMC
PowerEdge MX servers
These new servers achieved up to
36.1 percent more OLTP database
work than current-generation Dell
EMC PowerEdge MX servers, while
also lowering application response time
When you need more computing power from
your data center, upgrading to hardware with new
processor technologies, architecture, and storage
can be a great way to improve performance and
get the most from precious space.
Our hands-on testing explored the amount of
Microsoft SQL Server transaction-processing work
that two VMware®
workload clusters could
achieve within the same MX7000 chassis. One
workload cluster comprised current-generation
14G Dell EMC PowerEdge MX740c servers, and
the other had new PowerEdge MX750c servers
powered by 3rd Generation Intel®
Processors. The next-generation cluster achieved
36.1 percent more SQL Server transaction-
processing work in terms of database orders per
minute (OPM). At the same time, the current-
generation cluster also reduced application
response time by 8 percent compared to the
previous-generation PowerEdge MX740c cluster.
These results indicate that by selecting next-
generation servers in the same chassis, you could
scale SQL Server performance within the same
data center footprint.
Support up to 25%
more VMs with
same or better
Achieve up to
36.1% more total
Reap better SQL Server OLTP performance with new-generation Dell EMC PowerEdge MX servers April 2021
A Principled Technologies report: Hands-on testing. Real-world results.
Dell EMC PowerEdge MX servers
Dell EMC calls the new PowerEdge MX a “modular,
7U integrated solution designed for enterprise data
center density with easy deployment, management, and
maximum longevity” and says its no midplane design
and scalable fabric architecture allow it to support new
processor technologies, storage types, and connectivity
Learn more at www.delltechnologies.com/en-
Upgrade to achieve a greater
OLTP transaction rate
Your company might rely on online transaction
processing (OLTP) for retail sales, order entry,
customer relationship management, or another
type of activity. Business is booming, and along
with growth comes increased demand on the
servers that run your essential operations.
You want new gear that can support your
applications well today and into the future,
when demand will hopefully be even greater.
This makes it wise to choose a server solution
that delivers a higher transaction rate.
We tested the next-generation Dell EMC
PowerEdge MX750c against the current-
generation Dell EMC PowerEdge MX740c in a
VMware Cloud Foundation™
workload clusters. We used the DVD Store 3
benchmark to measure OLTP performance and
application response time of two clusters:
• A cluster of three next-generation Dell EMC
PowerEdge MX servers, each with Intel Xeon
Gold 6330 processors, 512 GB of RAM, and
four 3.2TB NVMe™
• A cluster of three current-generation 14G
Dell EMC PowerEdge MX servers, each with
Intel Xeon Gold 6320 processors, 192 GB of
RAM, and four 1.6TB NVMe SSDs
Because we configured the current-generation
servers in a manner typical of the time of their
release, the next-generation servers include
faster processors, increased RAM and DIMM
capacity, and two additional memory channels
per socket with eight DDR4 channels. Also,
while both configurations used PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSDs for storage, only the Intel chipset in the
next-generation servers works at that speed,
which is twice as fast as the 32Gb/s maximum
of PCIe 3.0. We found that the new cluster not
only delivered more orders per minute per
VM and more total OPM, but it also improved
application response time. (For complete details
of our test systems and approach, see the
science behind this report.)
Reap better SQL Server OLTP performance with new-generation Dell EMC PowerEdge MX servers April 2021 | 2
What our test results showed
In the initial phase of our testing, we ran four virtual machines on each server in our three-node workload
clusters, for a total of 12 VMs per cluster. Figure 1 shows the results: the next-generation servers delivered
180,462 OPM, which is 18.7 percent more than the 151,923 OPM the current-generation cluster achieved.
During the first phase of testing, the next-generation cluster also achieved an average DVD Store 3
response time that was 18.4 percent less than that of the current-generation cluster.
Table 1: Number of OPM each VM achieved. Source: Principled Technologies.
bar pt length = (score/1000)*1.5
18.7% more orders per minute with an equal number of VMs
Dell EMC PowerEdge MX750c vSAN cluster
Dell EMC PowerEdge MX740c vSAN cluster 151,923 OPM
Figure 1: Total OPM
the 2 clusters achieved
with 4 VMs/node.
Higher is better. Source:
During our first phase of testing, we pushed the current-generation servers to their peak performance, fully
utilizing the processors. We observed that the same VM configuration on the next-generation cluster still had
processor resources available. In our second phase of testing, we deployed one more virtual machine per host
on the next-generation cluster, boosting VM density per node. This meant the next-generation cluster ran 15
VMs, a 25 percent increase over the 12 VMs on the legacy cluster. As Figure 2 shows, these additional VMs
allowed the next-generation cluster to deliver 206,864 OPM, an increase of 36.1 percent over the current-
generation cluster’s 151,923 OPM.
During the second phase of testing, the next-generation cluster also achieved an average
DVD Store 3 response time that was 8.5 percent less than that of the current-generation cluster.
36.1% more orders per minute and 25% more VMs
Dell EMC PowerEdge MX750c vSAN cluster
Dell EMC PowerEdge MX740c vSAN cluster
Figure 2: Total OPM the
2 clusters achieved with
5 VMs per node on the
and 4 VMs/node on
the current-gen cluster.
Higher is better. Source:
VMs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Avg.
12,438 13,170 13,166 12,385 12,459 13,094 11,771 12,652 12,593 12,767 12,732 12,696 NA NA NA 12,660
15,391 15,141 15,585 15,199 15,088 14,805 14,749 14,772 14,497 15,076 14,997 15,162 NA NA NA 15,038
14,018 14,010 13,487 13,831 13,350 15,277 13,228 13,054 15,205 12,744 13,413 13,404 14,014 14,247 13,582 13,790
Reap better SQL Server OLTP performance with new-generation Dell EMC PowerEdge MX servers April 2021 | 3
When the demands of business require more
computing power from your data center, it can be
tempting to stick with the server models to which
you’ve become accustomed. Choosing the right
newer models, however, can deliver advantages in
both transaction rate and response time.
In our hands-on testing, a VMware vSAN cluster of
next-generation Dell EMC PowerEdge MX servers
not only boosted total OLTP performance by more
than a third over a cluster of current-generation
models, but it also reduced application response
time by 8.5 percent.
Investing in these new servers could provide the
high-density environment you need to handle
your current and future business demands.
1 Dell EMC PowerEdge MX, accessed March 22, 2021,
2 “Add next-generation Dell EMC PowerEdge MX servers to your VMware Cloud Foundation infrastructure with ease,”
accessed April 7, 2021, https://www.principledtechnologies.com/Dell/PowerEdge-MX-deployment-process-0421.pdf.
What about deployment?
In a companion study to this one,2
we learned that the process of deploying next-
generation PowerEdge MX servers to an MX7000 chassis was identical to that of
deploying current-generation servers. We were able to complete this process in 2.5
hours. If you want to reap the performance benefits we discuss in this report, rest
assured that you won’t offset them with a steep learning curve for your IT administrators.
Principled Technologies is a registered trademark of Principled Technologies, Inc.
All other product names are the trademarks of their respective owners.
For additional information, review the science behind this report.
This project was commissioned by Dell EMC.
Read the science behind this report at http://facts.pt/eLCYZsD
Reap better SQL Server OLTP performance with new-generation Dell EMC PowerEdge MX servers April 2021 | 4